Definition of Social Mobility
The term “social mobility” refers to the movement of individuals from one social class to another. Individuals may move up or down, or remain at the same level but in a different occupation. Sociologists study how various structural and social factors contribute to the social mobility of groups or individuals. They also compare the rate of mobility in the United States with that in other countries.
Types of Social Mobility
Sociologists have identified several types of social mobility:
- Horizontal social mobility
- Vertical social mobility
- Intergenerational mobility
- Intra-generational mobility
- Occupational Mobility
Horizontal Social Mobility
Horizontal mobility one of the types of mobility, is the straight change from left to right or right to left. In horizontal mobility to place is changed but the social position of an individual remains on the same level. For example; when a lecture is transferred from one government college to another with the same grade or pay scale and as a teacher is horizontal mobility.
Vertical Social Mobility
Vertical mobility refers to the change in status of an individual as moves up or down the social ladder. For example, the manager of the meat department who is promoted to general manager of the supermarket has achieved upward vertical mobility. The promotion is accompanied by an increase in income and overall responsibility. On the other hand, the major league, baseball player who is sent back to the minor leagues has suffered downward vertical mobility.
Intergenerational Social Mobility
Intergenerational mobility refers to social mobility that takes place between generations. When the daughter of a taxicab driver earns a college education and goes on to become a successful medical doctor, intergenerational mobility has occurred. Downward intergenerational mobility may take place as in the case of a taxicab driver whose father is a physician.
Intra-generational Social Mobility
Intra-generational mobility refers to a change or changes in the social status of an individual or group of individuals within the same generation. For example, suppose that five children are born into one family of rather moderate means. After high school, four of the children enter the job market at medium-low levels, while the fifth child works part-time while attending college. After college graduation, the fifth child enters a major corporation at a rather high level, and after three years, the one is promoted to a top managerial position. While he/she has attained upward vertical mobility, his/her brothers and sisters have remained at the same socioeconomic level.
Territorial Social Mobility
Territorial social mobility is the change in locality, territory or resistance when an individual move from one place to another place is called territorial mobility. The trend of territorial mobility is common in urban areas as compare to rural. In urban areas people change one house and get another on rent, while rural people are mostly unwilling to migrate to city and change their residence.